HOLLYWOOD's hottest workout – loved by Jennifer Aniston and Rihanna – has hit UK shores.
The first certified Lagree fitness studio has opened in England – and I went to check it out.
Lagree is a high intensity, low impact exercise class designed to sculpt and tone every muscle in the body.
It's been described as Pilates on steroids, and whoever said that wasn't wrong.
In just 50 minutes, I worked every part of my body – some quite possibly for the first time ever.
It's strength, cardio, core, balance, flexibility and endurance training all in one, so it's no wonder it's an A-lister favourite.
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Jen and RiRi are said to be big fans, as are Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens and Elizabeth Hurley.
In 2017, Meghan Markle also described it as "hands down the best thing you could do for your body".
Plus, Victoria's Secret models Alessandra Ambrosio and Karlie Kloss apparently also love it, and who doesn't envy their physiques?
Here's everything you need to know.
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What is Lagree?
Lagree is the brainchild of Sebastien Lagree – a fitness trainer and entrepreneur born in France but now based in Los Angeles.
It uses a machine called a Megaformer.
At first glance, with its springs, bars, straps and a sliding carriage, it looks like a torture device.
And to be honest, it's not an inaccurate description as it's how Lagree can offer such an intense muscle burn.
It might appear similar to a reformer used in Pilates, but it uses different training principles.
Instead of focusing on breathing, centring and flow, it relies on the bodybuilding method of time under tension.
There are no breaks, meaning a Lagree session targets all facets of fitness.
The key to it all is a series of red and yellow springs that are altered throughout the class, with each movement having a different load (making it harder or easier).
Since launching in 2006, there are now more than 500 Lagree studios around the world.
I visited MAD in London – the UK's first.
It's run by Mona Halawi and Nour Abu Hamdan, both of whom are also instructors.
What's it really like?
The website claims: "This workout strips fat, builds lean muscle, chisels the core, challenges the heart, increases endurance, boosts flexibility and maximises the mind-body connection."
I'd say that's a pretty accurate description.
During my 50-minute class, which actually lasted about an hour, I completed planks, lunges, crunches, bends, twists and pikes.
Within the first two minutes I was already experiencing what Nour described as "the Lagree shakes".
My limbs were uncontrollably wobbling and I was pouring with sweat – both signs of an effective workout.
What was noticeably different to any other class I've done is that everything was done in slow motion.
My instructor kept saying: "Let's slow it down, even slower."
Nour added afterwards: "The foundation of the workout is moving slowly.
"By moving really slowly, we're forcing the muscles to work rather than relying on momentum.
"If you're going in and out of a lunge quite quickly, for example, you're not really focusing on muscle activation."
Asked why it appeals to the stars, she said: "It's short and super efficient, but you get everything in and work every muscle of the body.
"Because there is no time to rest or take a sip of water, you get really good results.
"It tones giving you long muscles rather than the bulk you might get from other kinds of workouts, and that's why it appeals to celebrities."
I like to think of myself as pretty fit. I run, cycle, dance, spin and enjoy the occasional HIIT class.
But nothing prepared me for the intense burn Lagree would provide.
The movements were painfully slow, and I could feel every fibre of my being being pushed to the limit.
With a hefty price tag of between £20 and £35 per session, I'm not sure it would be a regular workout for me personally.
But if you've got the cash to spare, I can definitely see how you would achieve pretty epic results very quickly.
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I was sore for several days after my introductory MAD session so it was clearly a productive 50 minutes.
I can only imagine how you would feel – and look – after several weeks!
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